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Introduction to Health Insurance

Mark Dombeck, Ph.D.

Welcome to our Managed Care topic center. The health care system in the United States has been radically transformed by the advent of managed care over the past 30 years. Conceived as a means of cost-cutting in the face of ever-increasing healthcare expenditures, managed care has successfully shifted the balance of power within the medical field; reigning in spending excesses, lowering payments for services, and standardizing on efficient best practice care standards when possible. Many fields have been affected. For instance, doctors' independent decision making authority (their ability to order any diagnostic tests, or perform any interventions they wish) has been reigned in, and in many cases their reimbursements for services have declined. Also, Masters level health professions (nurses, physician's assistants, etc.) roles as care providers have expanded.

emergency room entranceGiven the ongoing changes brought by managed care, it is important for healthcare patients to become advocates for their own best treatment. Learning as much as possible about how the current medical decision making and reimbursement systems work can be an important beginning step towards taking better control of your own medical treatment. Hopefully, our managed care topic center will be of service to you in this capacity.

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